Affectionately referred to by locals as the "U" or "U of M", The University of Minnesota is a large university with several campuses spread throughout the U.S. state of Minnesota. There are four primary campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, and Morris. In addition, university services are available in Rochester, and a campus was open in Waseca for a time. The university also operates several research facilities around the state, including some large tracts of land. Another major higher education network in the state is the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU).
The flagship Twin Cities campus is by far the largest in the system, with a total enrollment of 50,954 as of fall 2004. That made it the second-largest campus in the country at the time, behind Ohio State University's main campus in Columbus. Duluth reported 10,366, Crookston had 2,088, and Morris had 1,839 students, bringing the system-wide total to 65,247 for that semester (numbers for Rochester are apparently counted separately).
The colors of the university, which are used system-wide, are maroon and gold.
Main article: University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Because of its size and several decades of history prior to the addition of other campuses, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (sometimes abbreviated UMN-TC) is what most people think of upon hearing "University of Minnesota." It can actually be subdivided into multiple parts. Most significantly, Minneapolis and neighboring Saint Paul (actually, the suburb of Falcon Heights) each have distinct campuses. The Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are connected via a dedicated bus transitway. The buildings on each campus are connected by a series of underground tunnels and above-ground skyways called The Gopher Way . The campus has 50,954 students currently enrolled.
The Minneapolis portion is the largest and has a number of colleges dedicated to a variety of subjects. Minneapolis's campus can be further subdivided into the East Bank (main portion) and West Bank, as the Mississippi River flows through it. Students become well-acquainted with the double-decker Washington Avenue Bridge that connects the two sections. There are a number of distinguished graduate and professional schools in the Minneapolis, notably the University of Minnesota Law School, Medical School , Carlson School of Management and Hubert H. Humphery School of Public Policy .
The Saint Paul campus is more focused on agriculture, though several other subjects can be found there. It is also home to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Due to the workings of the U of M phone system, both campuses have 612 area code (Minneapolis) telephone numbers instead of the 651 code that would be expected for the Saint Paul portion. The Minnesota State Fairgrounds is also located in Falcon Heights.
The mascot for the Twin Cities campus is Goldy the Gopher, and the sports teams are called the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference. Its hockey program competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Amongst the graduates from this campus are two former U.S. Vice Presidents, Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter Mondale, former NAACP president Roy Wilkins, several Nobel prize winners, several athletes such as Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Curt Hennig, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Jackson of the NBA, and singer Yanni. A wide variety of medical and technological innovations have taken place there as well. For instance, the Internet Gopher protocol was created at the Twin Cities campus. A predecessor of sorts to the World Wide Web, it was named after the school mascot.
Campus media includes the Minnesota Daily newspaper and 770 Radio K (KUOM), an AM radio station that is probably the oldest in the state.
The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) became part of the system in 1947, though the campus has a history stretching back to 1895 when it was formed as the Normal School at Duluth. Their teams are nicknamed Bulldogs. Campus media includes the KUMD FM band radio station.
The Crookston campus (UMC) joined the university system in 1966. Their mascot is Regal the Eagle , and the school nickname is Golden Eagles.
The Morris campus (UMM) joined the system in 1960. Their teams are nicknamed Cougars. The school operates an FM radio station, KUMM.
The Rochester campus has offered classes since 1966. The school uses the facilities of the Rochester Community and Technical College.
Waseca opened in 1971, but was closed in 1992.
The University of Minnesota was founded Minneapolis in 1851 as a college preparatory school, seven years prior to Minnesota's statehood. As such, the U is not officially a unit of state government. The school was closed during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867. Minneapolis businessman John Sargent Pillsbury is known today as the "Father of the University", and aided the campus through financial troubles as a regent, state senator, and governor. The Morrill Land Grant Colleges Act also helped provide funding for the U.
In 1869 the school reorganized and became an institution of higher education. William Watts Folwell served as the U's first president.
Holidays are not observed at the University as often as they are at most other schools, and it is rare for classes to be cancelled on account of weather (at least in the Twin Cities, which is the southernmost campus aside from than Rochester). During the traditional autumn through spring year, classes are not held on Thanksgiving Day or the Friday after, and the school traditionally has an extended break covering Christmas and New Year's Day. Classes don't resume in January until the day after Martin Luther King Day. A week-long spring break occurs after the eighth week of the spring term, sometimes coincides with Easter. Evening classes are cancelled once a year to allow students, faculty, and staff to attend the Minnesota caucuses.